Confused about where to go in Vietnam ? As we share the list, get set to have a fun and knowledgeable experience at some of the most scenic places to visit in Vietnam and explore each and every one of these riveting destinations on your vacation. Keep scrolling down and read along!
1. Hoi An
The central coast’s centuries-old ancient port town Hoi An has retained its charm despite the throngs of tourists drawn here by the heady mix of wooden-fronted merchant houses, graceful bridges and ornate temples. At night, colourful lanterns are hung from every shop front and light up the narrow streets of the atmospheric old town, casting a romantic shimmer over the Thu Bon River.
2. Sa Pa (Sapa)
It’s the dramatic site of the far north’s Sa Pa, rather than the bustling market town itself, that travellers rave about. If the mist hasn’t rolled in, viewpoints take in green terraces and looming conical mountains, including Mount Fan Si Pan, Vietnam’s tallest peak. Trekkers use Sa Pa as a base to visit nearby minority villages that still practice a traditional way of life.
3. Ha Long Bay
Long on every traveller's bucket list, Ha Long Bay has been a World Heritage Site since 1994. When the sun rises over the still emerald waters and the bay’s scattered islands, islets and limestone pillars, the seascape is the most beautiful in the world. Even in the cooler off season the fog can add a touch of dreamy mysticism. An overnight cruise on a junk is an experience not to be missed.
4. The Mekong Delta
A vast sprawling Mekong delta through which the Mekong River makes its last push to meet the South China Sea, the landscape here is a lush maze of languid waterways and mangrove forests. This fertile region is Vietnam’s rice bowl and travellers flock to atmospheric floating markets to watch produce being hawked from colourful boats bathed in early morning light.
5. Ho Chi Minh City
The thrill of the big city – and the sheer breakneck speed at which it operates – makes Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) a popular choice. Although not the capital of Vietnam, the buzzing, cosmopolitan city of skyscrapers and French colonial architecture is sleek and sexy. The best way to soak up the melee of the traffic-choked boulevards is to sit back and sip a latte at a Parisian-style pavement café.
6. Ha Giang Province
Narrow ribbon roads with hair-raising bends meander the rugged peaks and green valleys of the Ha Giang Province in the far northeast of Vietnam. Though poor infrastructure has traditionally meant fewer outsiders, more travellers are making the effort to visit this forgotten province of dramatic scenery and colourful minority villages.
7. Phu Quoc Island
Way down in southern Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc Island is a classic deserted island getaway. It's still relatively undeveloped, and travellers rave about the west coast with its picture-perfect white-sand beaches and spectacular ocean sunsets. It’s also well worth exploring the red dirt roads of the lush interior, which is dotted with pepper plantations and dominated by a national park.
8. Da Nang
A surprise entry in this poll, the modern riverside city of Da Nang is increasingly making it onto every traveller’s must-see list. It’s particularly attractive after dark when the neon light spills across the Han River; on weekend nights the quirky Dragon Bridge is illuminated and, astonishingly, it breathes fire. East of the city, a seemingly never-ending stretch of sandy beach extends 30km to Hoi An.
Foodies, take note — Da Nang also features in our round-up of 10 Vietnamese foods you need to try.
9. Da Lat
Nestled in Vietnam’s central highlands, Da Lat is a quintessential hill station centred on pretty Lake Xuan Huong, whose shore is lined with pine trees. Dotted with French Colonial-era villas and blessed with a cool and temperate climate, this is the Vietnamese honeymoon destination – an air of kitsch only adds to the genteel atmosphere.
10. Cat Ba
Although the low-slung harbour town doesn’t have all that much – except location – to recommend it, the rest of the island is rocky and wild and begging to be explored. Half of Cat Ba is verdant national park and it’s a paradise for travellers who come here to hike, climb and kayak (the waters and coral reefs are protected too). For jaw-dropping views across Ha Long Bay, head up to Cannon Fort.
11 . Mai Chau
Beautiful green rice fields dominate the Mai Chau valley in Vietnam. With a little elevation, the heat and humidity which can zap your energy in Vietnam is not as oppressive in this lush, picture postcard perfect valley.
About 4 hours’ drive southwest of Hanoi, the Mai Chau valley provides a perfect way to experience rural Vietnam. There are a few hotels available in the valley or homestays with a local village family are popular in the area. Many of the local villagers have Thai heritage and the wooden homes are built on stilts.Biking and hiking are popular activities for visitors, but the real attraction of Mai Chau is the scenery and a chance to relax and enjoy a bit of nature especially if you have been in the hustle and bustle of Hanoi.
12. Nha Trang
Visiting large cities in Vietnam can be a bit overwhelming until you get used to them. You may need even a getaway from the hectic pace.
One good escape is the town of Nha Trang, located in the middle of the country on the coast. It’s well-known for having some of the best “beach culture” in the country and is also a diving destination for scuba divers looking for decent diving in Vietnam. Years of poverty and wars have turned the once pristine Vietnam coastline into somewhat of a less-desirable diver destination. However, there are still plenty of places to dive in Nha Trang, where enthusiasts will find everything from small critters to turtles and cuttlefish.
Not a beach person? Head out to see some of Nha Trang’s historical sites, like the famous Big Buddha. Immerse yourself in the cultural experience and take a Vietnamese cooking class at Lanterns Restaurant. You’ll cook great food and visit a busy market the locals use – all while learning more about Vietnam’s daily life.
Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, has been used over the centuries as the centre of power for both local and foreign rulers. For almost 800 years, until 1802, Vietnamese dynasties ruled from here. Between 1883 and 1945, the French used it as the de facto capital of French Indochina
It means that today you’ll find a city where Asian and European influences blend together with historical sites, cultural centres, and modern national monuments to create a beautiful urban landscape.
The prettiest parts of Hanoi are around Hoan Kiem Lake. To the north is the Old Quarter where markets take over the streets, lanterns hang between trees, and decorations cover the wooden balconies.
In the French Quarter to the southeast of the lake, you’ll find wide facades with balconies surrounded by wrought ironwork, impressive government buildings painted with pastel yellows, and even French-style cafes.
With green parks, lots of lakes, and the large Red River cutting through the city, there’s also plenty of nature to give this chaotic Vietnamese city a calmer atmosphere than you might expect!
14. Ninh Binh
Vietnam is already known for its world-class cuisine, those who are foreign to this country probably don’t know yet that this place is also a must-visit destination. After living and travelling on and off in Vietnam for the past three years, I’ve come to the conclusion that my favourite place here is Ninh Binh.
Ninh Binh offers a lot of things to everyone who decides to travel here or move here. The beauty of Ha Long Bay can still be appreciated from this part of the country, all you have to do is go to Trang An which also known as the Ha Long Bay by land.
Ninh Binh is also famous for all the beautiful caves you will come across too. Are you also a nature lover? Hiking in a very natural environment is definitely an option without going too far out of the city. Ninh Binh also let you travel the North of Vietnam and all the way to the South with not much of a hassle!
15.Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park – Hang Son Doong
People often ask me “where is the most amazing place I’ve ever visited” and my answer is always Hang Son Doong, the world’s largest cave! This magical destination is tucked away in the Vietnamese jungles of Phong Nha and was only discovered at the turn of the millennium which makes it that much more remarkable. The massive cave takes about a week of jungle trekking to fully explore and can only be seen on one of Oxalis’ exclusive tours. These pristine landscapes are quite literally untouched by human hands and they found a number of new species crawling through the caverns.
Words barely describe all the geological marvels that await inside of Hang Son Doong with enormous stalactites, cave shields, cave pearls and more throughout the cavern. You’ll be tempted to swim in all the wonderful cave pools and although they won’t let you in ALL of them these natural springs are the only place for a jungle bath in this week-long adventure. Two dolines have created lush jungles that fill a number of chambers with unexpected greenery and even create an ecosystem where you might get rained on inside of the cave!
Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 to 1945, and was once home of the Nguyen Dynasty emperors. The city still has an imperial feel, with a sprawling Citadel complex being one of the main attractions to see. There are also several impressive gates, imperial tombs and temples.
The Thien Mu Pagoda overlooks the Perfume River and is another beautiful place to visit in the city. Although a complex has been there since the 1600s, many of the buildings have been destroyed and restored over time. Visit earlier in the morning to avoid the crowds!